Prawn and Blue Swimming Crab Salad with Korean Chilli dressing

Salad with cold water prawns, chunks of blue swimming crab and a Korean style sesame and chilli dressing.

The summer season is finally here in Edinburgh after a long, cold, dark winter and with it comes salad season. I love nothing more than a good fresh salad on a warm summers day, in fact I have been dreaming about one all winter – there is something about a summer’s day that just says “salad”, or maybe its just me!

With this salad of cold water prawns, blue swimming crab meat, eggs, romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red chilli, yellow bell pepper and red onion, the twist comes with the dressing which transforms the salad to something really special. The dressing is made from sesame seeds, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, honey, vinegar and the essential Korean ingredient – gochujang chilli paste.

I always find it hard to put into words exactly how my food tastes, but one thing I can say for sure is that the dressing transforms an ordinary salad into a truly exotic and fun dish.

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Serves two as main dish or four as a starter

Ingredients and method

The salad

120-150g crab meat – I used blue swimming crab

125-150g cold water prawns – pre cooked, shell and head removed

1 romaine lettuce – wash, dry and roughly shred

4 large round tomatoes – cut into eighths 

10-15 cm cucumber – cut into medium thick slices

4 pre boiled eggs – see method

1 red onion – thinly slice

1 yellow bell pepper –  cut into small pieces or dice

1 large red chilli – thing slice, keep seeds in for spice (optional)

Method: To boil the eggs – bring a medium-sized sauce pan to the boil then carefully add the eggs one at a time into the water, take care not to drop them in too quickly or they will crack (remove and discard if they crack). Reduce heat so pan is gently boiling and cook for 10 minutes.

After this remove eggs and place them in a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking. Once cooled remove from water and set aside. To remove the shells take the egg and tap the egg against the worktop until it starts to crack, turn the egg and continue to tap so that you crack the egg all the way round (imagine a line round egg and follow it). Once you have cracked the egg all the way round the shell you should be able to gently pull the shell and membrane away from the egg.

Assemble the ingredients, layering them in a large salad bowl ready for the dressing.

For the Korean dressing

1 heaped dessert spoon gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon clear honey

1 dessert spoon vinegar

1 heaped dessert spoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Method: Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 45-60 mins, to allow flavours to develop. Before serving mix well again, then drizzle over the salad, then mix well so it coats everything. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

 

 

Korean Cucumber Salad with Sesame Dressing

A cucumber salad with spring onion, red onion, red chilli, herbs and a sesame dressing.

This salad is the perfect accompaniment to any Korean dish, especially for people like me that love Korean food but don’t like kimchi. Adding some tofu, grilled chicken or prawns can transform this side dish into a great starter.

The salad is made from cucumber which is deseeded, peeled and cut into crescents. The cucumber is then dried on absorbent paper to remove any excess water and so it takes up the flavour from the dressing. Sliced red onion, red chilli, spring onions along with a mixture of mint and coriander make up the salad.

The dressing makes the salad come alive – it is made from dark soy, honey, vinegar, sesame seed, sesame oil and the magic ingredient gochujang.

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Serves two as a side dish or starter

Preparation time 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the salad:

15cm length of Cucumber – deseed, peel, cut into crescents

1 red bird eye chilli – thinly slice

4 spring onions – thinly sliced

1 red onion – slice into thin strips

Handful of fresh coriander leaf – roughly chopped

Handful of fresh mint leaf – bruise, thinly slice

Method: Dry the cucumber crescents on absorbent paper for a few minutes. Add the salad to a bowl and mix well with your hands. Set aside.

For the dressing:

1 dessert spoon Gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon Dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon clear honey

3 teaspoons vinegar

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method: Mix the dressing well in a bowl until combined. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve. When serving drizzle over the salad then mix well with a spoon or your hands. serve and enjoy!

 

 This salad works well with my recipes below:

Korean King Prawn Chilli noodles

Korean beef skewers

Korean crispy Sesame chicken with fried chilli noodles

 

Korean beef skewers

A really quick and easy recipe for knock out Korean beef skewers.

 

The beef is knocked flat with a rolling-pin, then thinly sliced. This is added to a marinade made from ginger, garlic, dark soy, vinegar, shaoxing, sesame, honey and gochujan chilli paste.  Left a few hours in a fridge then the beef is skewered, before being cooked quickly over a hot skillet.

In this recipe I used fajita steak, however any steak cut such as sirloin or rump would work just as well. I served this as part of a main meal along with some coconut rice and a cucumber salad (recipe below), however it also works brilliantly as a starter.

You can make a tasty dipping sauce by pouring the marinade into a saucepan and cooking it through the boil.

 

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Serves two as a starter or part of a main meal

Preparation time 20 minutes (plus 3 hrs marinading time)

Cooking time approx 5 minutes

Beef Skewers

2 steaks (fajita, frying, sirloin or rump) – flatten with rolling-pin/mallet, thinly sliced

Bulb of garlic – crush and finely chop

Thumb of ginger – cut into thin match sticks

2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon vinegar

1 desert spoon sesame oil

Dash shaoxing wine

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 dessert spoon honey

2 dessert spoons gochujan paste

Vegetable oil  (to lightly bush grill)

You need a skillet grill pan and bamboo skewers for this recipe.

Mix marinade in a bowl then add the thinly sliced steak. Stir then cover in a fridge for at least three hours or overnight. Remove 30 minutes before cooking.

Get cooking!

  1. Start by skewering the beef. Try to get several skewer folds as you do this instead of simply one in one out.
  2. Heat the skillet pan over a high heat until smoking hot, then lightly brush with oil.
  3. Add the skewers across the grill from right to left, spacing out slightly so that all the skewers have room on the grill and are not lifted off by its neighbour – this helps to evenly cook them.
  4. On a hot grill the skewers will cook very quickly and need at most 90 seconds on each side, even less for very thinly sliced beef. Make sure you turn them in the same order for even cooking.
  5. Once cooked on both sides remove skewers in same order placed on grill and transfer to a plate to rest for 2 minutes before serving.
  6. If you wish transfer the remaining marinade into a saucepan and heat through until it bubbles away to kill any bacteria. This makes an excellent dipping sauce along.

Cucumber salad

15cm cucumber – deseed, peel and cut into crescents

2 long red chillies – thinly sliced

3 spring onions – thinly sliced

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaf

2 tbsp chopped peanuts

Mix ingredients in a bowl, keep the coriander and peanuts separate to add as a last-minute garnish.

For the salad dressing:

1 dessert spoon gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon honey

3 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix the dressing well in a separate bowl, drizzle over salad before serving.

 

Korean King Prawn Chilli noodles

Stir fried egg noodles with King prawns and vegetables in a Korean style chilli sauce.

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Serves two people

Preperation 10 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients

12 raw king prawns (shell, devien and buttefly)

2 tablespoons wok oil

6 trimmed broccoli spears

8 trimmed green beans (cut into 3-4cm lengths)

1 carrot (cut into thin matchsticks)

1 red chilli (thinly sliced)

6 baby corn (thinly sliced)

1 red onion (cut into thin strips) 

2 portions of cooked medium thick egg noodles

Thumb of ginger (cut into very fine matchsticks)

2 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 desert spoon sesame oil

1 desert spoon gochujan

1 desert spoon honey

1 desert spoon vinegar

2 desert spoons dark soy sauce

4 cloves garlic (crush, finely chop)

 

Get cooking

  1. Start by making the sauce, this is best 1-2 hours before cooking. Mix the crushed garlic, dark soy, vinegar, honey, gochujan, ginger, sesame seeds and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Stir well until combined, cover and set aside at room temperature until cooking.
  2. Cook the noodles as per packet instructions then drain and set aside. It is best to use a fork to seperate the noodles to make it easier when frying them.
  3. Heat one tablespoon of wok oil until smoking hot. Keep your cooker setting at maximum for the whole cooking process – it is better to lift the wok off the cooker than to turn it down. Stir fry the prawns until they turn from gey to pink (2-3 minutes), then tip the contents into a colander to drain the oil. Set aside.
  4. Wipe the wok clean then add a further tablespoon of wok oil and heat until smoking hot. Add the vegetables (onion,, carrot chilli, baby corn, brocholi spears and trimmed green beans) and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked prawns followed by the sauce then the noodles, stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the dish is piping hot.
  6. Serve immediatley and enjoy!